Shearers use specialised tools to remove wool from livestock, such as sheep, goats, alpacas, and other animals. They need to know how to handle animals properly to minimise discomfort and shear wool in one clean piece.
If you are fit and healthy, love to work with animals, and are prepared to live and work in a regional or rural area, becoming a Shearer could be perfect for you.
- Fit and healthy
- Good with your hands
- Thorough and methodical
- Can work with animals
- Willing to live in a regional or rural area
- Good communicator
- Resilient and tough
- Can work in teams and independently
- Taking animals from holding pens to prepare them for shearing
- Selecting appropriate tools to use
- Shearing and removing wool from animals
- Keeping animals calm and comfortable during shearing
- Inspecting animals for cuts and treating them
- Returning animals to let-out pens for counting and checking
- Maintaining and cleaning tools and workspaces
- Using special tools to shear stud animals
Lifestyle Impact: High
- Part Time opportunities: Moderate – around 36% of Shearers work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
- Average hours for full-time workers: 43 hours a week, which is average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
- Shearers’ salary can vary greatly depending on experience and number of animals processed. For an idea of pay, take a look at the Pastoral Award Pay Guide.
- Future career growth: Stable (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
- You’ll need to be prepared to do lots of physical work and be on your feet for most of the day.
Shearers are most in demand in these locations:
This is a small occupation, with around 3,400 people working as Shearers in 2020 (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au), with stable growth expected over the next five years. There is most demand for Shearers in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania. Most Shearers work in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry. Many farms are located in regional and rural areas of Australia, which means you will need to be willing to live away from the city to secure work.
Shearers are needed in many countries around the world, particularly those that produce a lot of wool, such as New Zealand. Farm work can be lucrative for those looking to go on a working holiday.
How to become a Shearer in Australia
You don’t need any formal qualifications to work as a Shearer in Australia, but there are courses you can take to build your skills. Having lots of hands-on experience will definitely work in your favour.
Step 1 – Complete at least Year 10 with a focus on English.
Step 2 – Try and find work experience in an agriculture-related setting or on a farm where you can get exposure to animals and the environment.
Step 4 – Find work as a Shearer and build on your experience.
Step 5 – Continue gaining experience and skills for life.
Find out more here –
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What do Shearers do?
Shearers remove wool from animals such as sheep, goats, alpacas, and other animals with wool.
Which industries employ Shearers?
Shearers are usually employed in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry.
What options are there for career progression?
You could start working as a Shearer, and then use your expertise to become Wool Classer. You could even end up running your own farm or operation.
Do I need to go to university to become a Shearer?
No, you don’t need any formal qualifications to work as a Shearer in Australia. However, there are VET courses you can take that can help you build your skills before you start work.
Where do Shearers work?
Shearers generally work on-site on farms, shearing animals in special sheds built for the purpose of shearing.
What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a Shearer?
If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Shearer is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:
- Try and get work experience in an agriculture related setting, such as at a farm. This will get you some exposure to the industry and start building essential skills.
- See if you can talk to a Shearer or someone who works on a farm to get an idea of what a day in their life is like.
- Work on improving your physical health so you know you will be up to the challenges of the job.